I was disturbed to find out that the government has yet again cut funding that could affect patient safety and outcomes. The Minister of Training and Education passed a Bill in Parliament on the 5th of October which eliminates access to a new student loan scheme for many health-related courses. Unfortunately, this includes all vocational courses related to Dermal Therapies and Cosmetic Nursing. The Minister conducted NO consultation with the cosmetic medical profession before releasing the list.
This presents a number of issues for our industry as a whole. Firstly, accredited training in this field helps to lift and maintain industry standards. Without accredited training, therapists and nurses will have to rely on training provided by the equipment manufacturer or distributor. In most cases, this type of training is delivered over 1 to 2 days with no formal assessment to validate underpinning knowledge and skills.
Secondly, the cosmetic professional has identified significant issues surrounding patient/consumer safety in relation to the practice of dermal therapies, in particular, light-based therapies. Issues surrounding consumer safety have been highlighted in a Regulatory Impact Statement by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency http://www.arpansa.gov.au/Publications/Drafts/dr_ndrpIPL.cfm. The regulatory impact statement highlights the need for accredited training in light-based modalities, and reducing accessibility to accredited training in this field will not allow allied health and beauty professionals to meet these future educational requirements.
Thirdly, most clinics employ qualified Dermal Therapists and Cosmetic Nurses to increase their clinic’s scope of practice and manage specific clinic divisions. Without these qualified professionals, training will have to be conducted in-clinic at the expense of the clinic owner. From a commercial perspective, you cannot expect clinic owners to train clinical staff to the equivalent standard and duration of a nationally accredited Graduate Diploma for example.
It is imperative that we come together as an industry to let the Minister know that accredited training in this field is essential for patient safety and the many employment opportunities it provides to nurses, allied health and beauty professionals. To have you say, please write to the Hon. Simon Birmingham at VETStudentLoans@education.gov.au.